Team England Coaching Weekend in Dunstable

National Team Academy

Last weekend saw the biggest National Team coaching event held in England. Team England Head Coach, Andy Penny, reports…

Beginning the journey for all National Academy and Team England members with events up to and including the World Championships in 2021, 72 bowlers from all 4 age groups attended the largest ever National Team coaching event in England.

Our themes and goals were:

– To build a Common Language together with a collective understanding so that coaches and players can communicate much better and more quickly on the lanes at international events
– Team building to achieve more and better interaction between players in the same squads and for each age group to help each other

From the feedback we received on the day and since it appears we achieved them all, especially the team building!

We kicked off with the main theme of back to front bowling, where watching the ball go off the pin deck was the starting point. Then we moved back to where the ball entered the pocket, followed by a step back again to the magic triangle, where players found that if their ball got in the triangle and stayed in it they struck for fun.

The next sub topic was ball motion and understanding what to look for and how to identify when the ball was responding to friction.

The final piece in the puzzle was for the players being able to rate their balls in a way that many of them had never seen before. I’d even go as far as to say it was the largest ever class for a BowlU presentation of ball motion and Response Time observation.

That was Saturday wrapped up, with all the information presented and understood by bowlers.

Sunday was all about putting that information into action and gaining experience of using it which will lead to all bowlers having a better knowledge of their own game as well as being able to communicate with a common language and help their teammates.

Players moved through 4 stations:

1) A Lane reading system that allows them to identify a pattern and choose the right ball to start with from just 3 shots
2) Surface changes using Abralon and other products to change their ball motion
3) Specto seeing is believing, using Specto to measure and confirming what they were seeing as the exit and entry points on a big screen
4) Tenpin Toolkit, using an app designed by one of our very own coaches, Simon Kimber, to train their eyes using the observation tool, perfect for off lane training.

The weekend culminated with a specially devised game that put everything we had worked on over the weekend into a competitive environment with a fun element, within the Final5 game structure, a baker game designed to help teams finish off team games with higher scores.

Players were drafted into teams of 5, with at least one member from each age group on each team. Points were awarded for getting the ball in the triangle and/or hitting the pocket and/or
striking, with a bonus for achieving all 3, with a big penalty for missing all 3!

The atmosphere was electric, with some very impressive shot making without the scoreboard pressure that disrupts so may players ability to play at international level.

Thank you to the coaches:

Mark Heathorn
Natalie Hart
Simon Herbert
Steve Thornton

With great support from Simon Tapp and Steve Leighfield.

Most of all thank you to the 72 bowlers from all ages groups for your commitment, and roll on June for National Academy #2!

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